Do you even REST bro?

- By Luke Sparrow, Movement Coach and Remedial Massage Therapist

“I want to be stronger, get fitter, faster, feel less tired, have more energy, be in less pain …” sound familiar?

As a Movement Coach and Remedial Massage Therapist I hear these request regularly. The first thing that I say to my clients when they ask me such questions is, what do you mean by that? Almost all of them draw a blank, because if they knew, they wouldn't be asking in the first place.

As crucial as moving and improving the body is, in my experience, I have never been asked the one question that we should all be asking ourselves and that is, how do I rest?

STRESS COMES IN MANY FORMS

Whether you're training for a marathon, hit the gym a few times a week, climb mountains on the weekend, have a demanding job or lifestyle the one thing all of these have in common is stress!

STRESS IS NOT ALL THAT BAD

Stress is a word that has received a lot of insult in recent years but it is a very important part of a physiology. Stress (in any form) tells the body that it needs to be stronger and more resilient. It is this ability to adapt to the stresses in our environment that makes us the dominant species that we are. However for the body to make these adaptations it needs REST. All the intense strength training, sweat dripping boot camp classes and grueling runs are a big fat waste of time if you don't provide your body with the necessary rest it requires.

REST, WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS

So what the hell is rest? Firstly rest is subjective, I could write a whole article to try to convince you that something like meditation is incredible for rest and recovery, but if it's just not your thing then it's probably not going to be very effective in achieving the desired results (but seriously, meditation, wow!). Rest is that feeling you get when you can just let go and there is nothing, at least for the next moment or so, that you have to, want to or need to do. The result is a relieving blissful sigh that makes you melt inside just a little bit and nothing, it seems, could possibly bother you in the slightest.

Now ask yourself when is the last time you felt this feeling? If you know when and what it was that made you feel this way, perfect you now have a rest and relaxation practice. If you are struggling to remember the last time you felt like this, don't stress, you're not alone and there are many ways to find that feeling.

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT

Remember, what relaxes and helps us achieve a resting state is different for all of us. For some it's after a walk, others a good chat with a friend or a float and a massage (or, floatage as we like to call it at CITY CAVE), some, it's meditation or just simply stopping for a second to do absolutely nothing. My advice to all rest seekers is to have an open mind and try lots of different things. However, there are two things that you must do:

1. SCHEDULE YOU REST: In our busy stressful lives, just like any other important part of your lifestyle, rest needs to be scheduled. You have the power to make a conscious choice to have time for yourself.

2. BE CONSISTENT: However you rest, keep it consistent. Just like you exercise your body, resting requires practice. If you knew how to do it then you wouldn't have drawn a blank on my previous question. But like any new thing start slow. Maybe put aside just a few minutes a day or a few times a week, whatever is manageable for you and increase it slowly.

I hope this helps and I look forward to seeing you in City Cave Paddington for a relaxing massage before or after your float.

If you have any more questions feel free to book a consultation with me.

Are You Asleep To The Importance Of Your Vagus Nerve?

Written by Samuel Minkin BHSc Musculoskeletal Therapy, Dip. Fitness, Level 1 tVNS

Vagus Nerve, Brisbane Musculoskeletal Therapist, Depression, Memory, Anxiety, PTSD

The Vagus Nerve (Cranial nerve X) is the longest of the 12 cranial nerves and plays a HUGE role in the body’s functions. First of all, the Vagus nerve is a neuromodulator which has motor and sensory fibres that connect the brain stem to many organs in the body which include the heart, lungs, stomach, large intestine, small intestine, spleen, liver, gallbladder, ureter, female fertility organs, kidneys, ears, tongue, and is the main parasympathetic nerve in the body.

The Vagus nerve also affects different parts of the brain such as the amygdala, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, insula in a bi-directional manner from these organs. Recently it was found that stress directly inhibits the Vagus nerve…. Hmmm, it is interesting when comparing the symptoms of stress with Vagus nerve dysregulation. You would be splitting hairs to draw a difference, with striking similarities between the two.

Vagus Nerve, Musculoskeletal Therapy, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD

This nerve is grossly underappreciated and utilised even with the growing body of evidence showing major improvements in gut health, mental health, cardiac health, inflammatory disorders, autoimmune conditions and epilepsy. Vagus Nerve stimulation may involve manual manipulation of the nerve in the neck, exercises which strengthen Vagal tone, neural tensioners and electrical stimulation with auricular clips (transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation) or electro needling.  Stimulation of the Vagus nerve improves signals going to and from the brain which improves negative feedback loops (If its too high brings it down and if its too low brings it up).

As well as tVNS there are a variety of things which can be done to increase vagal tone with some being more effective for particular conditions than others. Exercises such as gargling, gag-reflex, singing, uvula elevations, meditation and putting the face in a bowl of ice water (divers reflex) all upregulate vagal tone and improve its functions.   

So what can we treat with non-invasive tVNS?

  • Migraine
  • Motivation and optimism
  • Chronic Pain
  • Reflux
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Allergy
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Behavioural Issues (e.g. autism)
  • GIT Complaints
  • Digestion
  • Depression
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Anxiety
  • Working Memory
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Inflammatory Disorders
  • Neuroplasticity via BDNF (stroke, rehabilitation)
  • PTSD

How can the Vagus nerve treat the gut?

The Vagus nerve is what modulates the release of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) and digestive enzymes Gastrin and Leptin in the stomach. When there is too much hydrochloric acid in the stomach the Vagus nerves afferent fibres perceive this and inform the brain to make a change. An efferent message is then sent down the efferent fibres of the Vagus nerve and levels of hydrochloric acid are adjusted to suitable levels. The same can also be said when there is too little hydrochloric acid when we get slow digestion and bloating as a result.

The Vagus nerve also has a motor role and that is it sets the tone of the pyloric sphincter which is the sphincter between the oesophagus and the stomach. When this is weak as a result of Vagus dysregulation, stomach acid can travel up the oesophagus causing heartburn and chronically Barret’s oesophagus. It has also been found that tVNS increases gut permeability, improves peristaltic activity and treats inflammatory gut disorders such as Celiac, SEBO and ileitis.

Vagus Nerve, Musculoskeletal Therapist, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD

How can Vagus nerve treat depression and anxiety?

Research shows the tVNS increases noradrenaline, adrenaline, 5-HT and dopamine in the brain. In depression, there are lower levels of these monoamines which has been found to be correlated with decreased mood, focus and attention, memory formation, however, tVNS has been shown to increase focus, mood, memory and anxiety. It has also been found that tVNS can upregulate the prefrontal cortex which is the area for reasoning and responsible for inhibiting inappropriate thoughts or behaviour to normal situations. This is an important part of improving anxiety. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is the fertiliser to neuroplasticity and also a mechanism of action for treating depression and anxiety.

Vagus Nerve, Brisbane Musculoskeletal Therapist, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD

As a Musculoskeletal Therapist which is a branch of functional medicine, it is clear to me the importance of this modern medicine technique in integrative medicine. I have been using tVNS at City Cave to treat patients suffering from thyroid conditions, depression, anxiety, reflux, memory, rehabilitation for the past 4 months with patients reporting weekly improvements. Currently, there have been no reported side effects since the begun studies on the Vagus nerve in the 1990s. As the new year is upon us it is time to “wake up to the power of your Vagus nerve and what it can do for you”.

How can this help with your new year's goals?

People who have been receiving Vagus Nerve stimulation have found improved motivation and optimism after just one treatment. As they continue to receive the specialised treatment they report feeling improvements in mood, motivation and daily life. Vagus Nerve stimulation does not hurt and takes 30 minutes to complete.

For bookings or if you are curious if it can help you, please contact the clinic or myself.

Your Last Minute Christmas Shopping Sorted!

Christmas can be a tricky time of year where relationships are tested. Not because of stress, but because of what present you give to those you know and love! One false step can leave you with an unimpressed mother in law, disappointed girlfriend, or family who wonder if you ever know them. We are here to help! Here are some Christmas gift ideas, broken down by the kind of person you are shopping for. 

**Christmas isn't really about what you buy, it's about the thought behind it. We're just kidding! :)

For the Stress Head

Float Therapy with City Cave

Christmas can exasperate stress and can leave a lot of people feeling low and overwhelmed. Flota Therapy is a proven method for reducing stress and inhibiting the stress receptors in the body, allowing you to relax and shut off. Get them a float voucher, redeemable at either centre and make a difference to their mental health this year.  

Float Centre, Brisbane Wellness, Christmas

For the Avid Floater

City Cave Flauna or Floatage

For someone who has already discovered the wonder that is float therapy, why not add on some extras for their next session and give them some serious pampering? There is nothing quite like gifting an experience. 

Flauna package: 1 x 45 min Infrared Sauna session + 1 x 60 min Float session

Floatage package: 1 x 45 min massage + 1 x 60 min Float session 

Infrared Sauna, Brisbane wellness centre, Float Therapy, Brisbane

For the Mother In Law

Diffusers 

Diffusers are the modern day candle; Scent without the fire and hassle. Fill with water, choose your scent, plug it in, away you go! We even have them gift wrapped and ready to go for you. Pop in to pick one up for $69.99 and grab some oils while you're at it! 

IMG_3815.JPG

The Wellbeing Warrior

City Cave Voucher

These ones are tough as they have high expectations for their health and they always put this first. That's why a City Cave voucher is the best way to go to make sure that they can not only choose what they want, but they can come and experience complete serenity. 

City Cave, Brisbane Float centre, Brisbane Wellness, Christmas, Christmas shopping, Christmas gift ideas

For the Athlete

MG Life Magnesium Oil and City Cave Epsom Salts

You know the type; always active, constantly pushing the boundaries, climbing mountains, hiking and trains often, so naturally, always having some kind of ache or pain. Give the gift of faster recovery so they can continue to go go go!

Our Epsom salt mix is the same that we use in our float pools, imported from Germany and only $9.95 a bag. Great for helping with aching muscles to use in your bath at home. 

Epsom Salts, Christmas Gift Idea, Christmas shopping, Brisbane wellness

MG Life oil is a 100% organic Magnesium oil that is not tested on animals, vegan friendly and made here in Australia. It comes in 3 sizes:

40ml - $19  125ml - $29  250ml - $39

MgLife-Bottle-Group.jpg

For the Health Nut

Pono Probiotics

Pono Probiotics is a local Brisbane Business run my Daina and Dan who was searching for products she could use and give to her family. Pono Probiotics offer great testing health supplements with very trendy packaging. Not only are you gifting the gift of gut health, but you are supporting a local business. Win win!  

Pop into one of our centres and our helpful staff will be able to point you in the right direction for all of your Christmas Shopping needs, or getting you a physical gift voucher for your loved ones. 

Spiced Christmas Cookies

Christmas and cookies go hand in hand. Whether it's leaving them out for Santa with a glass of milk, gifting them as a special treat, or snacking on these delights after a Christmas feats, cookies are a Christmas tradition. 

Our Nutritionist and Dietician, Andrea has made some Spiced cookies just in time for Christmas. We have tasted tested them here at City Cave HQ, and safe to say they didn't last long. Quick, easy and perfect to have around the house for Christmas.

Christmas, Christmas cookies, Spiced cookies, dietician, nutritionist,

Stay tuned as Andrea will be having her very own Christmas Healthy Eating workshop coming up in December to give you all lots of ideas and taste testers of things you can make to stay healthy at Christmas time!

Spiced Christmas Cookies

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp mixed spice

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup sweetener OR golden syrup

30g unsalted butter, melted

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup molasses

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice, sweetener and salt. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, egg, vanilla and molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together with a spatula until a dough forms.
  • Roll into balls and press to flatten on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Note: if you are using golden syrup, mix this in with the wet ingredients.

Looking for a personalised meal plan that will help you to figure out your gut problems, get your goals on track and make sure that you're eating all the right things? Book in with Andrea and get a tailored guide for your body to make sure you're feeling 100%.

Tune in or Tune Out? Part Two.

The tune out floats are the ones people chase, that feeling of nothing and nowhere. These are the easiest to find but the hardest to maintain.

Most of us will glimpse this float in our first or second try. If you have floated before you will recognise the ‘tune out’ by a sudden jolt or flicker like you have woken abruptly from sleep at the end. This state is called the ‘theta state;’ a deep meditative state before sleep where the left and right hemisphere of the brain fuse and leave you in an abyss.

This float is by far the hardest thing to explain as the truth of the matter is nothing happens.. But that is the goal. It’s in this nothingness that you find a true rest from the mind and the body. The best way to describe the nothingness is when you jump into a pool for the first time, as your head passes through the water you hear the explosion of bubbles and for a split second when your brain processes that you are underwater there is a silence, a nothing. It is very faint and happens in an instant but that moment there is what the ‘tune out’ feels like.

The beauty of this moment is if mastered, afterwards that rushing feeling of endorphins is amplified by how long you are “tuned out” for.

But you never know how long it is, nor where you've been, nor where you are right now. You become so disassociated from everything that you have no idea how to comprehend it. Imagine something with no time, space or matter. You can’t, nor can you explain where you go or what happens whilst you are gone.

Second versions of the ‘tune out’ can be experienced by hallucinations (whatever that means for you). Colours and visions have been described by longtime floaters but your mind will explore itself in ways no one other than you can describe.  The main point of the exercise is to really kick back into chill mode, you will find after this you seem to wear a bulletproof vest over your mind. It’s completely refreshing and addictive all in one.

Back to my original thoughts: it’s near impossible to decide what happens when you go in for your float, but they key is to not resist in order to make the most of it.  


I want to include some tips I use before and after to again maximise the experience;

  • Avoid the use of your phone for at least 30 minutes to an hour after your float. This helps you graciously migrate back into the world without being bombarded or struck with anything ‘over dramatic’.

  • Have gratitude for yourself for taking the time out and valuing your wellness above all else.

My key floating times:

  • 9.30am start your day right with this float. Generally after exercise or before a busy day. See how productive and energised this makes you.

  • 3.30pm & 5.00pm after work floats solidify a successful day or ease a stressful one. Its also amazing going in when its light and coming out in the dark!

  • 8.00pm for the night owls; It’s an extremely peaceful time to come out of your float and either set yourself up for the best sleep or relax into the evening.

  • Hydrate! Before and after your float make sure you are hydrated (A toilet is a good option beforehand always).

  • Like a good episode of ‘Cops’, STOP RESISTING! Resist and the problems persist.

  • Not all floats are created equal! Floating over a long period of time, I have had the good, the bad and the blissful. All serving a specific purpose regardless of how I perceive it.

If you have any questions about floating, my experiences or have shared a similar experience, please get in touch with me at jeremy@citycave.com.au

Who Do You Know That Needs A Friend?

This time of year can be full of joy and happiness as everyone looks forward to summer, Christmas and holidays! But it also comes with a lot of stress and anxiety for some as work deadlines loom, finances get tight and pressure from the year can start to cause cracks.

Mental health is something we are very passionate about and we want to make sure that our community is okay during the "silly season." We want to encourage you to take the chance to reach out to a loved one, a friend or a colleague and make sure that they are ok. Whether it's sitting down over lunch and checking in, or asking if there is something you can do to help, these small gestures can make a massive impact on someone who is in a time of need.  

Christmas gift ideas, Brisbane float centre, Mental Health, anxiety,

It could be as little as scheduling to have lunch together, babysitting their kids for the night so they have the night off or buying them a small gift to let them know you're thinking of them. That's where we come in; City Cave is designed for "me time!"

Often the people who look like they have it together the most are the ones who are so busy trying to move forward that they forget to rest. Making time for themselves is something they feel guilty for and don't prioritise. 

So why not get someone you know who needs some me time a City Cave gift voucher and encourage them to make time for themselves. Select a service for them, or nominate a value and give them the gift of wellness. You could even book visits to come together for a float, massage or sauna so they are not alone and feel more obliged to take the time to just breathe. They will thank you for it! 

Be kind this Christmas and look out for those around you. You never know the difference it could make. 

 

 

Tune in or Tune out? That is the question.

Float therapy is one of those things that progress with time. You get better and better at it and allows you to listen to your body and what it needs. We sat down with seasoned Floater and Co-Founder of City Cave Jeremy Hassell, to find out a bit about his experiences with floating. 


Part one. Tune in.

As a Co-founder of City Cave I have floated my fair share of hours. Every time is different and I learn something new every time I float, but something is to be said for a person that floats who owns a float centre. So here are some thoughts and realisations in the mind of an owner of a quite unique experience.

Firstly, what we all do as owners of a business, we critique everything. The first 10 minutes of every float the checklist goes through the head. How is the music? What is the light in the room like? How is the temperature? What was the cleanliness like? What do I need to change? Who do I need to tell? What's the urgency?...deep breath....ahhhhh
As I mentioned before every float is different and they generally consist of two mind frames; Tune in or tune out. Dependant on the lead-up, how life is or what's going on physically determines how it will go. Your mind and body will decide this on its own, you just need to accept what you actually need from this session. A common mistake is to fight what's happening.

Today I tuned in. What to expect from this mind frame? Initially, thoughts will be loud. As you progress through your float a thought process might come to you or a feeling in the body. Whatever it is will become clear and you may need to focus on an injury you have or ponder on a decision. This is all about tuning in. At some points in your world you need to listen to what your mind and body are saying to help maintain balance and control over your circumstance; Reducing a reactive mindset and helping you think laterally over your situations.

This float was in the morning before I started my day so I half expected it to be a tune in session. I felt amazing and ready to attack my day, cleared up any things that I was carrying mentally from the week prior and gave my body a good rest. I developed a scope over some niggling pains and discomforts in the body and created a plan for the week in my training to work to strengthen and avoid injury.

The benefits of the tune in float to a working week or stressful time are amazing. Giving clarity to decisions, productivity to the workspace and checking in with the needs and feeling of the body.

I feel grateful for these floats.

Take time for yourself and let your body and mind guide your next session.

- Jeremy Hassell

Stay tuned to for Part two, Tune Out next week. 

Want to chat with Jeremy more about his or your floating experience? Contact him directly on jeremy@citycave.com.au

 

Pumpkin and Halloumi Pasties

We love seeing the amazing creations that our Dietician Andrea whips up each week. This week she has opted for a savoury pasty filled with Pumpkin and Halloumi cheese.. you had me at cheese! *drools slightly*

Brisbane, Brisbane health, Christmas Recipes, Brisbane float centre

Ingredients

  • 500 g pumpkin

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • Pinch of salt

  • Olive oil spray

  • 250 g halloumi

  • 1 red onion

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan

  • 3 sheets puff pastry

  • 1 egg

  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. On a baking tray lined with paper, place pumpkin cubes. Toss lightly with oil and salt and bake for 30 minutes, until soft and caramelised around the edges. Remove tray from the oven, but keep the oven on.

2. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Spray lightly with oil. Cook halloumi until soft and crispy. Remove from heat.

3. Using a little more spray oil, sauté red onion until caramelised. In a bowl, combine cooked pumpkin, halloumi, onion, pumpkin seeds and parmesan. Stir to combine.

4. Slice puff pastry squares into four smaller squares. Divide mixture into two squares, pull all four corners together and twist. Fold each side in so the filling is enclosed inside the pastry. Brush each pastie with egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until crunchy and golden on the outside.

For more amazing recipe ideas that you can try at home, book in with Andrea and get yourself a personalised meal plan. 

How To Switch Off When You Float

We know that switching your mind off and practicing mindfulness when you float can be incredibly challenging for some people. So we asked one of our Psychologists, Kobie Allison to give us her top 5 tips for how you can prepare for your float experience by training your brain to switch off. 

Floating, Float Therapy, Float Therapy Brisbane, Brisbane Float Centre
  1. Opt for music on for the first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes to fully engage in sensory deprivation
  2. Prepare for the thoughts in your mind to race. This is natural and its okay.
  3. Take a personal inventory, by asking yourself "How am I feeling? How am I feeling now?" Repeat. 
  4. Focus on your breathing: when you breathe in, your stomach expands, when you breathe out, your stomach deflates. When the thoughts start to race, keep bringing attention back to your breathing.
  5. Know that you can opt out at any time & enjoy a warm shower

Acknowledge your thoughts that come into your mind and allow them to pass you by. Mindfulness experts Head Space suggests treating the thoughts coming and going in your mind like a highway full of traffic. You can't stop all the cars that come past, but you can see them, acknowledge them and watch them go past.

For more information on Floating, check out our What is Floating? page or our FAQ page. 

Coconut Chia Pudding with Cacao Banana Ice Cream

Our amazing dietician Andrea has delivered another drool-worthy recipe for us this week, with this Coconut Chia Pudding with Cacao Banana Ice Cream. Check out the details below for how you can make this clean treat for your loved ones.. or all for yourself. No judgement from us! 

Ingredients

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp desiccated coconut

1.5 tsp Natvia Natural sweetener

½ cup coconut milk

2 bananas, chopped and frozen

3 tsp cacao powder

1 tbsp coconut milk

Coconut chips to serve

Method

1. In a bowl, combine chia seeds, coconut, sweetener and coconut milk and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes until chia seeds have soaked up liquid and pudding has formed.

2. In a blender or food processor, place chopped frozen banana. Blitz bananas until they become a smooth, ice cream-like consistency. This can take 5-10 minutes depending on the powder of your blender. Bananas become a crumb first before becoming smooth.

3. Add in one tablespoon of coconut milk and 3 teaspoons of cacao powder and pulse to combine all ingredients. Scoop ice cream into a bowl and place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes until it has firmed up.

4. To serve, divide chia pudding into two bowls or cups and top with cacao banana ice cream. Sprinkle chia seeds and coconut chips on top.

Clean eating, Dietician, Brisbane, Brisbane Health, Clean dessert

For more delicious recipes from Andrea, check out her website, or book in with Andrea here. 

How to Nourish Your Hair Post Float

Float therapy consists of immersing yourself in a body of water that contains between 350-400kg of Epsom salts, also known as Magnesium Sulphate. Although this is a mineral that we all need and most of us are deficient in, it can be quite dehydrating for your hair if you don't look after it. So although floating is in no way bad for your hair, you can follow some simple steps to avoid additional stress on it. 

Your hair is like a sponge so make sure you thoroughly wet your hair when you have your first shower before your float in our onsite showers, making it less capable of absorbing the salt water. When you are floating, try to tie your hair up so that the salt water has less contact with your scalp, and majority of your hair. 

We stock Nak 'Nourishing' Shampoo and Conditioner  (which is Sulphate and Paraben free) in all of our float rooms to ensure that you are leaving your session feeling and smelling great. We chose these because they have added Marine collagen, panthenol (Vitamin B5) and Vitamin E, which assist in repairing hair by improving tensile strength and replenishing moisture. This can increase elasticity and protects colour fading. 

Nak, Nak Hair, Brisbane Hair, Hair, Brisbane

You can also use a leave-in treatment in your hair after your session to add some extra nourishment to your ends, like the Repl.ends Leave In Treatment, Structure Complex Bond Enhancer, or as the name suggests, the Ultimate Treatment which contains Argan Oil and Silk Amino Acids. These will give your hair some TLC no matter what condition it's in, so your hair is left feeling protected, nourished, and have less fly-aways. 

Nak, Nak Hair, Brisbane Hair, Hair, Hair Treatment

We also have various Nak and Aromas styling products for men and women at our Beauty and Grooming stations, as well as hair dryers, so you can freshen up before leaving. From Shine Mists, High Volume Spray and Thermal Shields, to Pomades and Styling Clays, we have got you covered. 

These products can also be purchased at City Cave so you can treat your hair to some rehydration and quality styling at home. This includes a large array of mens grooming supplies, like Beard Elixir and Shaving cream. Stocks varies between centres.

 

Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation

We are so excited to have Sam Minkin, our new Musculoskeletal Therapist on board with the City Cave team at our Paddington Wellness Centre, who is super passionate about treating the Vagus Nerve and the multitude of benefits that can from this. 

The Vagus Nerve (Crainial Nerve X) is a nerve that is becoming more and more apparent in modern medicine for its multiple benefits of treating various conditions. Vagus is special because – unlike other cranial nerves that are concerned with head and neck functions – it carries information from and to internal organs, such as lungs, heart, liver, and intestines. (1) 

Its ascending pathways transmit a number of interoceptive signals to the brain, e.g. temperature, pain, inflammation, stretch, and pressure. On the other hand, the descending pathways regulate functioning of the inner organs. Vagus is involved in cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune processes; it plays a prominent role in the autonomic nervous system.(2)

Vagus Nerve Stimulation may involve manual manipulation of the nerve in the neck, exercises which strengthen Vagal tone, neural tensioners and electrical stimulation with auricular clips or electro needling.  Stimulation of the Vagus nerve improves its afferent and efferent nerve fibres. 

Musculoskeletal Therapy Brisbane, Vagus Nerve,  Wellness Centre,

Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (TVNS) can be used to treat:

  • Migraine                     
  • Chronic Pain
  • Reflux                          
  • Atrial Fribrillation 
  • Allergy                        
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Epilepsy                     
  • Behavioural Issues (e.g. autism)
  • GIT Complaints   
  • Digestion
  • Depression              
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Psoriasis                     
  • Anxiety 
  • Working Memory      
  • Blood Brain Barrier
  • Cerebral Palsy          
  • Inflammatory Disorders
  • Neuroplasticity via BDNF (stroke, rehabilitation)
  • PTSD

Sam works from the Paddington centre Monday to Wednesday from 9.00am-5.00pm and can assist with Vagus Nerve treatment. Call our Paddington Wellness Centre on 07 3171 8663 to book in with Sam. 

 

  1. Breedlove, S. M., Watson, N. V., & Rosenzweig, M. R. (2010). Biological Psychology: An Introduction to Behavioral, Cogitive, and Clinical Neuroscience (6th ed.). Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

  2. Yuan, H., & Silberstein, S. D. (2015). Vagus Nerve and Vagus Nerve Stimulation, a Comprehensive Review: Part I.Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

Raspberry and Coconut Baked Doughnuts with a Lemon Glaze

Who doesn’t love a doughnut? They’re right on trend at the moment, with boutique doughnut shops popping up all over the place. So we were more than excited to see this incredible recipe from our in-house Dietician Andrea Love pop up and we had to share it with all of you!

"While I wouldn’t say no to the odd cinnamon sugar-coated fried pastry, it is not something you’d want to include in your diet too often. So I’ve created a happy medium – baked doughnuts. I’ve made plenty of varieties of baked doughnut before (see here and here), but none with bursts of fruit throughout. I love using berries in desserts as they provide a sweet and tart component to the dish. Berries are also lower in sugar than other fruits, which is a bit of a win win don’t you think!

For this recipe, I used sweetener in place of sugar, and cut down the fat by replacing a large amount of it with Greek yoghurt. For the glaze however, I used regular ol’ icing sugar – this is definitely optional if you’re watching your sugar intake! The lemon glaze just takes them to the next level though, in my opinion."

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Servings 20 doughnuts

Ingredients

Doughnuts

  • Spray oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup Natvia Natural Sweetener
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup natural Greek yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries

Glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup roasted coconut chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Lightly grease a doughnut baking tray with spray oil. In a bowl, add the coconut oil, sweetener and eggs and whisk to combine. Add yoghurt, milk and vanilla and continue to whisk.

  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and shredded coconut. Fold dry ingredients into wet. Add frozen raspberries into batter and stir until just combined.

  3. Scoop batter into each doughnut mould and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until doughnuts are lightly golden on top. Place on a rack and allow to cool completely before glazing.

  4. For the glaze, place icing sugar into a bowl and whisk in lemon juice slowly, adding more or less depending on the consistency of the glaze you’d like. Dip doughnuts into the glaze and on to a wire rack with a tray underneath to catch the excess glaze. Double dip for a thicker icing on top. Sprinkle with roasted coconut chips while the glaze is still wet. Serve with a cup of tea!

Let Andrea see all of your food creations and delicious snaps by using the hashtag #eatnik on your photos!

We were on TV with Zoe Marshall! #madeit

We had Zoe Marshall and the House of Wellness Australia crew come down and visit us at the Paddington centre to find out all about the benefits of Epsom salt baths and float therapy. Check out the segment below that screened on 7Two and find out how Epsom salts have found their way back into fashion in the wellness scene as people re-discover how amazing they are for your body.  

Can I Float If I Am Pregnant?

We often get asked if it's okay to float during pregnancy, and the answer is yes! During pregnancy, there are many do's and don'ts that restrict the lifestyle you are used to living. Pain and discomfort can become the norm, but we have found Float Therapy can help to alleviate the discomfort and pain you generally experience in your 2nd and 3rd Trimester. 

Pain relief from pregnancy.

The float tank or float room is filled with four hundred kilograms of Epsom Salts that keep you buoyant. It takes the pressure away from all of you joints and muscles. Relief from gravity itself helps your body stretch out and find its natural curves and arches, allowing your spine to decompress. It allows better blood flow for your muscles and joints to repair quicker and your mind is removed from stimulation so it can focus on the problem areas. 

This can be a huge relief for anyone, but particularly for expectant mothers who are carrying around that additional weight. 

Float Centre, Wellness, Pregnant, Float Therapy, Brisbane wellness centre,

Connect with your Baby

Often people hear their own digestion and own heart beat when they are floating. When you are pregnant you can sometimes hear your baby. Stories are emerging of deep connections made with their child during pregnancy, from loud heart beats too fond movements whilst in floatation, allowing you to be in touch with your baby. When floating your baby can become very active and your babies responses can be felt more intuitively. Connections being made early on in pregnancy for mothers makes the process so much more personal.

Float Centre, Wellness, Pregnant, Float Therapy, Brisbane wellness centre, City Cave

Vitality and Immune System in pregnancy.

When you remove environmental stimulation and relieve body from gravity two things happen. Firstly your bodies blood flow increases dramatically through the spinal cord and neck straight from the heart to the brain. And secondly, when your mind has turned off from all stimulation it can focus on the fundamentals of repairing your body. Floating twice a week will keep your mind and bodies in routine of relief making the challenges of pregnancy that much easier. Your body and especially your baby will thank you for it.

We have also had some clients who have said that float therapy has helped ease morning sickness which is often experienced during the 1st and 2nd trimesters. 

Everyones experience during pregnancy is very unique in this time and float therapy makes it that little more of a unique experience. While we have many pregnant floaters, we do recommend discussing float therapy with your Obstetrician before giving it a go. 

 

Raw Miso Caramel Slice

This week our Dietician Andrea creates a raw version of an old favourite with a slightly unexpected twist. It's a sure fire way to kick your sugar cravings when the late afternoon sweet tooth rears its head, and is bound to be a crowd pleaser.

"Every man and their dog have their own version of caramel slice, whether it be traditional or raw, and to be honest, they are all delicious. I wouldn't say the raw version is better than the traditional type that you find at your local bakery, but instead it just uses more natural ingredients (and my recipe is vegan-friendly too).

My version would be equally as energy-dense, if not more so, than the old school favourite. Each to their own. Eat both in moderation. I cannot stress this enough. While there's no straight up table sugar or butter in the ingredient list of this recipe, let me tell you this slice is still high in sugars and fats. So I would definitely recommend against having this slice for breakfast, and encourage only a small portion for a dessert or similar. While this recipe makes 6 bars, each bar can serve 3-4 people. It is very decadent!"

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Raw Miso Caramel Slice

Makes 6 bars

Base

¾ cup cashews

½ cup shredded coconut

6 medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Filling

12 medjool dates, pitted

1/3 cup tahini

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tsp miso paste, to taste

Topping

1/3 cup sugar free hot chocolate mix

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

  1. For the base: place the cashews, coconut, dates and oil in a food processor for two minutes, or until the mixture resembles a crumbly dough. Press the mixture into 6 silicon bar moulds and place in the freezer to set.
  2. For the filling: place the dates, tahini, maple syrup, vanilla and miso paste in a food processor and blitz for two minutes or until smooth. Spread caramel over the base and place back into the freezer for two hours or overnight.
  3. For the topping: warm the coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds before adding sugar free chocolate powder. Whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. Remove bars from the freezer and pour chocolate topping over each bar. Place back into the freezer to harden. 
  4. Pop out bars and serve. Keep in the freezer when storing. 

Notes:

  • If you’re not keep on miso paste, replace it with a pinch of sea salt flakes instead.

Show us your creations by tagging @citycave on Instagram or Facebook so we can see your version of this home made classic. 

Fight Disease, Live Longer and Feel GREAT with an Infrared Sauna!

Our Infrared Sauna is booming with popularity at both centres here in Brisbane and our clients are loving the feeling they get when they sweat out all the toxins in their body. But did you know there are long term benefits from sauna use that can make you live longer

Studies have found frequent Sauna use to be linked with longevity by staving off age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

Dr. Rhonda Patrick discusses a recent study that found using the sauna 2-3 times per week was associated with 24% lower all-cause mortality and 4-7 times per week decreased all-cause mortality by 40%. This is done by activating the production of heat shock proteins (hsps), which are activated by heat stress. Heat shock proteins prevent protein aggregation inside cells and this protects against:

  • Atherosclerosis 
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease

Heat shock proteins (HSP) are a family of proteins that are produced by cells in response to exposure to stressful conditions and during wound healing or tissue remodeling. Many members of this group perform chaperone function by stabilizing new proteins to ensure correct folding or by helping to refold proteins that were damaged by the cell stress. HSP's are activated by the Heat Shock Factor (HSF) which is achieved through Sauna use. 

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Heat stress also activates the FOXO3 protein, which activates many other genes that protect against the stress of aging including:

  • DNA damage
  • Damage to proteins
  • Damage to lipids
  • Loss of stem cell function
  • Loss of immune function
  • Cellular senescence 

There are also the known benefits of sauna use such as relieving stress, aiding muscles aches and pains, flush toxins and rejuvenate skin, burns calories and fights illness. 

So not only does the sauna make you feel great, it can have huge long term benefits for your overall health and well being through activating your internal cells and proteins through heat! So no wonder our clients love the way the sauna makes them feel. Here are some testimonials from a couple of them. 

"With this ‘up and down’ weather of late, I quickly started to come down with the flu symptoms so I got straight on the phone and booked a session in the Infrared Sauna. I felt so calm and relaxed during my session, I could have stayed in there for hours! When I came out I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated! I absolutely love the facilities at City Cave. I’m now a regular floater and Sauna-er." - Rhian Elise
"The infrared sauna at City Cave has helped me so much to get back into my fitness. After taking a break from training for 3 months, my muscle soreness was getting the better of me.  But after utilising the infrared sauna through the week I've been able to train harder and more frequently than ever before! It also makes my skin so clear, and I feel so refreshed after a session!" - Maddie Daly

 

Even our Naturopath Jess Blair loves the Infrared Sauna!

"Infrared saunas use the parasympathetic healing effect which helps your body to handle stress.
Stress can cause a number of negative health problems, some including weight problems, hormone problems as well as sleep disturbances and high blood pressure.
The saunas cause heat and natural positive radiation effects in the human body.
Some of the incredible health benefits of infrared sauna includes it helps boost metabolism, helps
clear toxins, improve skin health, lowers chronic pain and overall improves your wellbeing."

Interested in finding out what it feels like for yourself? Book in a session in our Infrared Sauna at either James Street or Paddington this week.

The Power of Probiotics

On the back of our two Gut Health 101 workshops with our amazing Jess Blair (Naturopath) and Andrea Love (Dietician), we thought it would be a good chance to delve into some knowledge on Probiotics. Our very talented Health and Liaison Officer Emma (who also studied Dietetics), delves in a little deeper to help us get to know what Probiotics are, when to use them and why they are so good for your gut! 

The idea of consuming good bacteria for health is not new. It dates back to the early 20th century, when shortly after, the term “probiotic” was coined meaning “for life” or “for health”.  Probiotics are a type of friendly bacteria that, when introduced into our bowel, stabilise the intestine's resident microorganisms, restoring our natural balance of good ‘bugs’ in the digestive system. If we get the right balance of bacteria then the whole system works.

We have all seen drinks in the dairy cabinet at the supermarket claiming to “keep you healthy on the inside”.  And then there are the yoghurts with Lactobacillus acidophilus or ABC cultures, which advertise that they are good for your digestive health. Friendly bacteria or probiotics are one of the latest health trends. But do they work and how often do you need to take them?

HOW PROBIOTICS KEEP YOU HEALTHY:

Friendly bacteria can create the right environment in your digestive tract which helps to:

  • Replace normal bacteria that have been killed off by a course of antibiotics; 
  • Produce substances that make your internal environment unwelcoming for Salmonella, rotavirus and other harmful bugs;
  • Stop episodes of diarrhoea including travellers’ diarrhoea;
  • Create a barrier so the internal lining of your intestine is less likely to let allergens through; 
  • Stimulate the immune system; 
  • Regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation and flatulence; 
  • Ease irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease;
  • Digest the lactose from milk; 
  • Deactivate harmful enzymes in the intestine.

To be classified as a probiotic the strain must be present in sufficient numbers in a product. Most importantly, the bacteria must be able to survive the gastric acid to arrive at the small intestine and then the large intestine where it grows and multiplies.  Most probiotic yoghurts contain booster substances called pre-biotics to aid delivery of active cultures to the digestive system. In other words the booster acts for the friendly bacteria so they can grow and multiply inside you and do their good work.  These boosters usually include inulin, fructooligosaccrides and polydextrose. 

WHEN DO YOU NEED PROBIOTICS:

You generally need a probiotic if something has disturbed your digestive system:

  • After a course of antibiotics; 
  • After a bout of Gastro or diarrhoea; 
  • Major diet change; 
  • Stress.

For general health and wellbeing, the use of a probiotic two or three times a week is fine. But if you are ill or need it to correct an imbalance, then twice a day doses are recommended.

It is important to note that probiotics that have passed their use by date or that are not kept cold simply won't have the number of viable bacteria present. So follow these tips:

  • Store it correctly - keep it chilled at all times especially during the trip home from the supermarket;
  • Buy from a large supermarket which has a fast turnover so the probiotic is fresh;
  • Consume the product within a couple of days.

Although I'm not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are exceptions if you don't eat fermented foods on a regular basis. 

- Emma Williams

If you think taking a probiotic could be beneficial for you, book in to see Andrea or Jess and get a personalised treatment plan that will cater to your needs, diet and goals. 

 

Float Tanks Vs Float Rooms; What's the Go?

Floating is a new concept to most, so many don't know that we offer Float Therapy in two forms; Float Rooms and Float Tanks. In this blog, we break down the two types of floating experiences we offer so you can decide what works best for you. 

What Is A Float Tank?

A float tank is a pod designed around sensory deprivation. The human body rarely to never feels the relief of its own senses. At City Cave on James Street we designed it just for you. Sight, sound, taste, smell and feel are always effective in some way. Removing this constant allows the mind and body to reach deep relaxation. The content of the water is so rich of Epsom Salt (350kg-400kg) that you float effortlessly. The room and water temperature are resting at 34.5 degrees which is similar to your skin so you can't feel where the water starts or finishes allowing your body to take away its final constant, Gravity.

 

What is a Float Room?

At City Cave we designed Float Rooms so people that feel claustrophobic can have the opportunity to feel the benefits of sensory deprivation. The experience of floatation therapy is much the same in the float tank as it is in the float room, achieving deep relaxation and the journey through floating is just as easy, and you will find yourself feeling refreshed and energized at the end of your session. We have 2 Float Rooms at James Street, and 4 at Paddington that you can book in today.

Find out more about the benefits of floating and couples float services on our website linked here. 

If you have any questions or concerns about floating, give us a call on 07 3368 2207 and our staff will be more than happy to assist.